Sunday, June 26, 2022

    Community prayer service for Ukraine held in New Jersey

    As a 17-mile-long convoy of Russian tanks rumbled towards Kyiv, and over 500,000 women and children made their way west towards Poland to escape death, leaving behind their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons to defend Ukrainian sovereignty, the people of New Jersey gathered at the steps of the St. Andrew Memorial Church to pray for their safety and the sovereign integrity of their ancestral homeland of Ukraine.

    His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Diaspora, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA, along with guest hierarchs gathered in The Saint Andrew Memorial Church, the first monument erected in memory of the millions of lives lost to the Soviet Russian perpetrated manmade famine known as Holodomor (murder by starvation).

    Archbishop Daniel began by informing the public that he was born in Ukraine and came to the United States as an exchange student. His family is in Ukraine, his parents in Buchach, and other family in Ivano-Frankivsk.  He told how a short 12 days earlier he had visited his family back in Ukraine, but now the streets are destroyed and impassible.  Many homes are destroyed, building demolished, innocent lives shattered.

    He asked that everyone be united with Ukraine and tell the world we cannot let such atrocities go unanswered.  We must once and for all say “NO” to war.

    “We pray for our God-loving and God-protected country the United States of America, for the Government and armed forces and for all the people; for our God-loving and God-protected ancestral homeland Ukraine and for all the people, that the Lord God help and aid them in all things and protect them from every enemy and adversary,” the prayer went on.

    His Eminence Metropolitan Antony stepped up to the podium and greeted everyone with the ancient Christian Greeting of “Christ is among us”.  The world watches another attempt of the Russian leadership to invade Ukraine and turn her merely into a small region of Russia. A nation that attacks innocent civilians is guilty of tyranny, instigated by low self-esteem.  This is a dangerous circumstance as it comes with the realization that all things of Ukrainian value are lost to them.

    His Eminence continued stating that Russia first fried to intimidate the nation by surrounding the country with military installations and armored vehicles.  When the intimidation failed, the Russian government chose to invade, to deliberately kill innocent civilians indiscriminately.  No care was being taken to minimize civilian casualties.  This is an act of terrorism against Ukraine, against Democracy and against the world.

    He continued by stating the Ukraine is a geographic reality, with her own borders, which have been coveted over the centuries by neighboring countries.  Ukraine is blessed with numerous and abundant natural resources, and rich black soil that yields plentiful crops.  It is due to this rich soil that Ukraine is known as the “Breadbasket of Europe”.

    It is no secret that under the guise of the Soviet Union, Russia wanted to claim these vast resources, but she also wanted to install a wide buffer zone between herself and Europe.  In her efforts at acquiring what belonged to others for herself, Russia killed indiscriminately as human life meant nothing, it was expendable, and mass graves would soon be forgotten.  What they did not realize, is that Ukraine is more than a border line, it is a nation, and her most valued resource are her people, who possess an indelible self-identity which will never be ripped from their hearts or souls.  His Eminence continued by stating that it is exactly these people whom we are concerned for today.  It is for their sakes that we are gathered on this cold evening on the steps of the church, to pray for their salvation and God’s protection of the Ukrainian nation, her sovereignty, and her very identity.

    Metropolitan Antony expressed his joy at seeing the world finally united in the realization of Russian tyranny.  From the farthest corners of the world, people are gathering, rallying, protesting, and making known their disapproval and condemnation of Russia’s act of war against an innocent, peaceful, and democratic nation.  Formerly, rival nations have swung their doors wide open, accepting the thousands of refugees who are fleeing for their lives with little more than the clothes on their back.  This is the Finger of the Lord, as He acts to save His people.

    Consul General of Ukraine to New York, Oleksii Holubov, defended Ukraine’s right to sovereignty and expressed his condemnation of the Russian invasion of a freely elected, democratic nation.  He encouraged everyone to continue to pray and to defend the freedom of Ukraine and the world.

    Ukraine shows that the true strength is in the character of the free people of Ukraine, which have inspired humanity throughout the world, even in Moscow, where people demand an end to this aggression.

    May the Lord safeguard Ukraine, protect her people, grant integrity to her borders, and chase all evil, danger, and trouble from her lands.   Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Heroes!